Three Afghan refugees were killed and four others injured when Iranian officers shot at the vehicle they were traveling in, the Afghan embassy in Iran confirmed on Monday, sparking a wave of anger about alleged mistreatment of Afghans in Iran.
Among the injured was a boy seen in a widespread social media video begging: “Give me some water, I am burning.”
A video posted on Twitter showed a protest in front of Iran’s embassy in Afghanistan. People carried papers with the slogans “death to tyranny,” “bring us some water, we are burning,” and “we will never forgive the cannibal Khamenei regime.”
#Afghan youths protest in front of #Iran's embassy with slogans: Death to tyranny, whether in Kabul or Tehran/ Burning and drowning Afghan workers by Iran's regime is an unforgivable crime/ Bring us some water we are burning/ We will never forgive the cannibal Khamenei regime. pic.twitter.com/5197P9zXus— Ali’s Back Office (@Javanmardi1975) June 7, 2020
Some Iranians spoke up too.
June is Refugee Awareness Month. Many of us Iranians have been shamefully silent about the suffering, persecution & murder of Afghan refugees in Iran. I stand with my Afghan brothers & sisters, and all persecuted minorities, in calling for justice. This must end. https://t.co/kmII8ucyon— Nazanin Boniadi (@NazaninBoniadi) June 4, 2020
“This is more than a racism case, it is related to politics,” Camelia Entekhabifard, the Editor in Chief of Independent Persian, told Al Arabiya.
There are approximately 2.5 million Afghans in Iran, but their representatives in the country do not speak up for them due to corruption and ties to the Iranian regime, said Entekhabifard.
“Many of those politicians are on the payroll of the Iranian government,” she added.
Iran has repeatedly threatened to send Afghans back home, which would be a “crisis” for Afghanistan’s struggling economy, she added.
This latest incident comes a month after Iranian border guards allegedly tortured and killed a group of Afghan refugees. Afghan officials reported the death of 45 refugees, accusing border guards of forcing them into the river at gunpoint. Iran denied the accusation.